The U.S. Air Force will soon buy two Boeing 747s abandoned by a bankrupt Russian airline to convert them into the next Air Force One, The Guardian reported Wednesday.
In December, U.S. President Donald Trump said the original project to replace Air Force One would cost a "ridiculous" amount, and this deal could save the Air Force millions of dollars.
The planes were ordered initially from Boeing in 2013 by a Russian airline Transaero, but the company went bankrupt two years later.
Air Force One consists of a plane for the president and a spare one, and converting a pair of 747-8 jumbo sets to luxury command centers is estimated to cost $3.2 billion or higher. Boeing regularly sells a plane of the same kind for $390 million.
An anonymous source with knowledge of the sale told the AFP news agency that Boeing was ready to sell the Air Force the plane, but noted that the Air Force would be forced to deal with possible negative press that would arise from the usage of planes formerly destined for Russia for the purpose.
"We're still working toward a deal to provide two 747-8s to the Air Force, focused on providing the greatest value for the Air Force and the best price for the taxpayer," a Boeing representative told AFP.
Boeing recently tested the planes and they are now being housed in Southern California, where climate conditions prevent corrosion to the plane. The final deal may be announced in the next few weeks.
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